"My Fair Lady"

February 10, 2010

Feb. 12-14
Indianapolis Civic Theatre

Classics, in hindsight, always seem like the result of destiny. But their back stories are often less confident. In the case of “My Fair Lady,” for instance, success was far from guaranteed. George Bernard Shaw didn’t want his play, “Pygmalion,” to be musicalized at all. His death, however, opened the door to that possibility. Still, Rodgers and Hammerstein couldn’t make it work and, on first effort, Lerner and Loewe couldn’t, either—how could a musical exist with all this dialogue and without a secondary romantic couple? In fact, it was only after Lerner and Loewe took a two-year hiatus from the project that they figured out how to make “My Fair Lady” into theatrical magic—and, even then, star Rex Harrison almost didn’t come out of his dressing room before opening night.

Now gilded as one of the great works of musical theater, “My Fair Lady” is being given a new look by Indianapolis Civic Theatre, which is offering it as part of its Broadway Concert Series. That means the orchestra is on stage, the actors may be carrying scripts, and set and costumes are minimal. Forget theatrical conventions and, instead, go and soak up the sound of one of Broadway’s best. Details here.